If you currently receive federal financial aid (grants and/or loans) to help fund your education at UNL, you may be able to apply your aid to an approved credit-bearing education abroad program.
If you are not currently receiving financial aid, but believe you may need assistance to fund your education abroad program, start by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a FAFSA Renewal Form. The UNL Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid (OSFA) recommends completing your FAFSA in February or March prior to the academic year you plan to study abroad.
In order to be eligible for the maximum amount of federal financial aid, you must meet certain credit hour enrollment requirements. Please call to make an appointment with an advisor in the OSFA, who will explain the important policies and procedures governing federal aid.
Plan ahead! You should allow 4-6 weeks for financial aid processing.
Adjustment to Cost of Attendance
The OSFA will need to adjust your estimated cost of attendance for the term in which you plan to go abroad. The Education Abroad Office will help you determine the cost of attendance for your specific program, broken down into the following five categories:
- Travel Expenses
- Miscellaneous Expenses
Please note that you may include airfare, in-country transportation, day-to-day spending money, passport and visa fees, etc., but you may not include leisure (non-academic) travel and costs. Regardless of the total cost, the amount you may be eligible to borrow cannot exceed the federal limits based on your grade level.
For UNL Faculty-Led programs, detailed cost information will be available on the Education Abroad website. For other programs, your program sponsor will provide you with billable program costs as well as estimates for out-of-pocket costs. If you find at any stage of the process that your estimate was inaccurate, please contact the Education Abroad staff to request a re-adjustment.
The Importance of Registration
The Office of Scholarships & Financial Aid cannot disburse your awarded aid if you are not properly registered for your education abroad program. Learn more about the how to register and the importance of registering for the correct number of credits.
Special Summer Considerations
In mid-March, after registering for your summer program, complete the UNL Summer Aid Application: MyRED / Financial Aid tab – Manage/Summer Aid Application.
Remember that you must enroll in a minimum of 4 credit hours in order to be eligible for half-time and at least 6 credit hours for three-quarters Summer aid. You may meet this requirement with a combination of education abroad courses, on-campus UNL courses, distance UNL courses, etc.
Many students study abroad on a UNL Faculty-Led program for 3 credits during the Pre-Session of the Summer term. As you plan, keep in mind that you will not receive Summer aid until the session in which you meet the minimum credit hour requirement to be eligible for financial aid. This means that you may be billed for your study abroad program prior to receiving your aid.
Also, the academic (and financial aid) year runs from the Fall term through the Summer term. Some students exhaust much of their available aid for the year in the Fall and Spring terms, leaving fewer options by the time Summer arrives. Your OSFA advisor will discuss your options with you.
Logistical Challenges when You're Far Away
If you anticipate receiving a financial aid refund while abroad, be sure to sign up for Direct Deposit to your checking account: MyRED / Student Accounts tab / Manage – Enroll in Direct Deposit
If you prefer to receive a refund check in the mail, update your address to a residence where a responsible person will receive your refund check in a timely manner: MyRED / Records tab / Manage – Addresses
Power of Attorney (POA)
If there's any chance you'll need to communicate with, or sign paperwork for OSFA while you're abroad, be sure to give OSFA a copy of your Power of Attorney agreement. It will allow your POA designee to more easily step in and help out in your absence.
If you spend an extended period of time abroad, pay special attention to deadlines like completing a FAFSA for next year and filing your income taxes.
If you are on a renewable scholarship (Regents, Chancellors, Nonresident scholarships, etc.), it is important to have your study abroad credits applied to your UNL transcript (validated) immediately upon return. Renewable scholarship awards require validation of study abroad hours before they can be released the following term.